February 2021 Book Review.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Happy Tuesday!!! Y'all, it is the happiest Tuesday of the month because it's BOOK REVIEW TIME!!!!!!!!!!! Whoohooo!!!!!!!!! 

This month wasn't the best reading month, what-I-read-wise, but I still had a few goods ones!! We have everything this month. A mystery,  a sci-fi, contemporaries, a memoir, a classic, and a fantasy. So, everyone, grab your coffee, tea, or in my case, water, and your PJs because we're talking books!! 

Unfortunately, Abby wasn't able to make this month's book review, but I still have the link-up for you!! You can find it here. All book-related posts are welcome!! Make sure you stay until the end to see our March book club picks! 

Side note - Would y'all like to see a March TBR? I was thinking about including it in my March goals post, but let me know what y'all think!! 

Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

This book is about an anonymous online game called NERVE. It's truth or dare but only dares (no thank you!). There are prizes and pride on the table. Vee accepts the challenge, and so does her partner, Ian. They work together as the dares get harder and harder. 

I didn't like it :( It was boring and the characters were bland. I also couldn't get into the story. I very was disappointed by this book. It sounded like something that I would really enjoy, but it ended up not being. At all. I saw that there was a movie so maybe that'll be better? Maybe not. We'll see. 

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett

I really wanted to like this one. I really did. But, I didn't.

This book is about Jamie Allenby. She's taking a break from her current relationship because she needs some space. She's working on an isolated planet when a deadly virus rages through. It's a different virus though because if you come in contact with anyone while you are sick, you will die. Jamie survives the virus and gets on a spaceship with other survivors. And she tries to find her husband. 

I thought this book was kinda annoying. Jamie isn't a very likable character so I didn't find a lot of pleasure reading about her. Also, space. Sci-fi is a genre that I really respect, but don't love. It takes a lot to write all that, but I've never found enjoyment in it. That being said, I didn't love the space aspect of this book. 

Now I know all of that sounds negative, but that's just my opinion. For people who do enjoy sci-fi, this was a good book. Well, minus Jamie. I also learned that this book is a debut novel which is very impressive to me. As I said, it takes a lot to write sci-fi so to have this book as your debut novel is quite an accomplishment.

So, overall, this book wasn't for me. But, don't let me discourage you from reading it if you do prefer this genre. If you can get past Jamie, then I think that you'd really enjoy this book!! 

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This series is everywhere. Cassandra Clare is an author that I always seem to be hearing about. It's safe to say that the hype got me and I was very curious to read one of her books. I picked City of Bones.

This book is about Clary Fray. One night she heads out to the club in NYC and almost witnesses a murder. Yikes. Not only that, it was three teenagers with strange tattoos and even stranger weapons. And then, the body completely disappears. Yikes, time two. This occasion marks Clary's first time meeting the Shadowhunters. Warriors that are dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Yikes, times three. Clary is then pulled into the world of Shadowhunters, demons, and Jace when her mother disappears. 

I didn't hate it. 

At times I would get lost and lose interest, but I found this book to be very intriguing. But, it also felt very familiar. As in didn't I just read a book like this? Obviously no, but I feel like this story along with Percy Jackson and even Harry Potter all seem very similar. A world the main characters didn't know existed, but suddenly, they are sucked in. And spoiler alert, it ALWAYS has something to do with the parents. But I mean, who's to say that Harry Potter isn't one of the best series around? It is. This is a book trope that is widely beloved, so I can see why this book is very hyped up. I just feel like nothing about this book stood out to me like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson did. I did enjoy it, it just wasn't super special. 

So overall, I did like this book for the most part. Sure there were times that I got confused or lost, but it wasn't bad. I'm sure I'll read the rest of the series sometime this year.

When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

This book is about Jay. Jay is currently living with his grandmother and sister when all of a sudden, Jay's sister, Nic, goes missing. 

I enjoyed this book. I liked it. But, I felt like at some times, the story just dragged on. I liked the characters a lot, and the message behind it was very good and important. It focuses on how people of color are treated differently, which is so important to acknowledge and call out because it's true. This book had some amazing quotes and words that will stay with me for a while. 

So besides it dragging on at times, this book was very good. I did enjoy it.

With Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Ahh, my favorite!! 

With Fire on High is about high school senior Emoni. She's an aspiring chef. She dreams of attending culinary school and one day being able to support and provide for her 3-year-old daughter. 

I have officially read all 3 of Elizabeth Acevedo's most popular releases and I could not be sadder. I loved them all. 

This book really stood out to me because it was very unlike the other two. Yes, there were very important topics discussed. Yes, It was about a teen girl finding herself. But it was different. 

First of all, this book was not in verse, which surprised me but didn't disappoint me in the slightest. I loved comparing the two styles. Spoiler alert - They're both amazing and you should read them all.

Second of all, this book is about cooking. How fun is that? I loved the cooking aspect of the book as it was something I'd never read before but still very thoroughly enjoyed.

And finally, it is about a teen mom. All of Elizabeth Acevedo's books involve a teen girl trying to find herself, but this one stood out to me the most because Emoni had to find herself. She had to go from an innocent teen to a mother in the span of a few months and she had to do it all in her freshmen year of high school. 

So overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was an easy contemporary read but yet packed with such a powerful and thought-provoking message. 

Endless love for Elizabeth Acevedo and I can not wait to read everything (and I mean everything!) that she publishes in the future. 

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

This book is about Abby. Abby takes a DNA test with her friend to prove that she's "more Irish" and finds out that she has a sister. The sisters meet up, very confused. Then they decide to go to summer camp together to figure all that their parents have been hiding from them. 

I really liked this book!! First of all, it's like the Parent Trap minus the identical twins. It was a very interesting concept that really gripped my attention. I really liked how all the characters were very genuine. I also enjoyed the setting. Although it did make me miss summer a. lot. I really enjoyed the summer camp setting. Another thing I liked is the hobbies of Abby and Savvy (Abby's sister). Savvy is a social media fitness/wellness influencer, and Abby is a photographer! Both unique passions and they were both interesting to read about. 

I think the only thing that I didn't like about this book was that it wasn't very realistic. But, that also made it more fun to read about! 

So overall, I really enjoyed this book!! This is a great book to get you out of your reading slump, and it's the perfect read for summer and spring!

Educated by Tara Westover

The second book club book for February!! 

This a memoir of Tara Westover. Tara grew up in a family of Mormon survivalists in the mountains of Idaho. Her family spent their life constantly preparing for the end of the world. Her mother was a midwife and healer, and her dad owned a junkyard. This book is basically about Tara's journey of leaving her family and getting educated.

Oh my goodness. This book was absolutely crazy. From never setting foot into a classroom until the age of 17 and not getting a birth certificate until she was nine. From an abusive brother to not knowing what the Holocaust was. This book was one of the most interesting and compelling books that I've ever read. 

I don't even have words to describe this book because it is so crazy. 

First of all, I listened to it as an audiobook, which I think, was an A+ decision on my part. It kept me interesting the WHOLE time, and it was like listening to a podcast.

I really can't describe it.

Second of all, what Tara had to go through is ABSOLUTELY insane. Insane. Bizarre. I'm at a loss for words. I'll just say this, thank goodness she left her home to get an education. Who knows what would've happened if she hadn't.

Third of all, READ THIS BOOK. 

This is one of those books that I could dedicate a whole post for because I have so many thoughts scrambled in my brain. 

So, sorry for this all-over-the-place review, but I hope you read this book :) I mean, I was getting educated just listening to it. 

Also...If you've read this book, let me know what your thoughts are!! I'd love to hear them!! 

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

This book is a historical fiction set in 1992. Ashley Bennet is a high school Senior. She lives in Los Angeles with her parents and she attends a private school. Ashley is one of the very few black kids at her school, but regardless of those numbers, all of her friends are white. Ashley never minded that or when her friends would make racist comments. She just shrugged it off. But, her life is shaken when Rodney King, is nearly beaten to death by the LAPD. Rodney riots sweep through the city and all of a sudden, race is the topic of discussion.

First of all, it's Black History month so of course, I wanted to read a few books that have black representation/history. Second of all, it's historical fiction which is something that I've been wanting to read more of. Third of all, it's during a time period that I haven't read about at all. 

So my thoughts on this book? It was okay.

I just couldn't get into it. And I realllllllyyyyyy wanted to. It's not a bad book. At all. It was just a book that I couldn't get into. And that happens a lot. So, please, don't let me discourage you from reading this book. I mean, to me, it's a solid 3. And most of the books I read are 3s. The writing just felt a little flat. Overall, it was a good book. I just didn't absolutely love it.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

I FINALLY read it.

In this book, Robin DiAngelo unpacks the term white fragility. This is a book that will make white people uncomfortable. It made me. But that's the point. This book calls us out and tells us how we need to do better, be better, act better.  

I first heard about this book in June when the protests first started happening. I really wanted to read it but I was afraid it wouldn't be age-appropriate for whatever reason. Well, guys, I'll be the first to tell you that this book is age-appropriate. I would say that ages 11-12+ could read it (maturity-wise). But anyway, I finally picked it up and thought how bad could it be (not bad at all). And I read it. And I wish that I read it back in June. 

This is a very important book. If you're looking for a book to start your journey to educate yourself then I recommend that this book be the first one. Or Emmanuel Acho's Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man (review found here). Both books are very thought-provoking and they will seriously make you want to do better. There's a reason why this book is so popular. Because it's good. Really good. It challenges all white people to look at their character and see how they can do better. 

A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

Another one of Reese's book club picks!! I realized that she picks some YA books as well as adult so now I'm obsessed :) 

But unfortunately, I didn't love this one. 

This book is about a girl named Lila Reyes who moved to England for the summer. And she's not happy about it. She was supposed to be at home with her boyfriend and cooking with her Abuela. But, that didn't happen. She's sad in Winchester, England with no sun to cheer her up. Until she meets Orion Maxwell. Orion is determined to cheer Lila up and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. 

I reallllllyyyyy wanted to like this one, but I struggled with it. I wasn't invested in the romance, and honestly, I didn't really like the characters. BUT I did really like the setting and culture. That was fun to read about. I don't think I've ever read a book set in England. But, unfortunately, the rest I didn't love. It wasn't awful, but personally, I didn't really enjoy it. Overall, it was okay. 

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Here comes the waterworks.

Oh boy.

This book is about a place with something called a "death-cast." This means that on your death day you get a call saying that you will die sometime in the next 24 hours. You don't know how and you don't know when, you just know that you will die at some point. One night, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio get the call. They're both strangers but they want to make the most of their last day. They both join an app called "Last Friend." They meet each other and they decide to make the most of their last day. And thus begins an adventure, friendship, and romance.

Oh my goodness. This book was heartbreaking.

I've been seeing this book EVERYWHERE. It's ALL over my Pinterest pages. It's safe to say that I was very curious as to why this book was so hyped up. I have also been very curious to read one of Adam Silvera's books. He's a YA author that, once again, I've seen everywhere. 

Let me tell you, the hype is real. This book will excite you, break you, make you smile, make you cry. I mean, wow. I can't get over it. I mean just imagine getting a call one night saying that you're going to die in the next 24 hours. These boys miraculously meet up and it turns into something that neither one expected. They were complete strangers wanting an adventure on their very last day alive.

The ending broke me. Whew. I'm not going to spoil it but let me tell you, I loved this book. It was a contemporary/romance which is always a hit or miss for me, but this book was a hit. Not only a hit, it was a score. I feel so blessed that I was able to read this beautiful and sad story.

So overall, I loved it. 

Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

So apparently I was in the mood to very sad when I choose to read these books. 

If you've been following me for a while, then you know that it is my goal in life to read all of the classics books. I try to read one a month. Normally I don't like them, at all, but there are a few exceptions. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, and now, Flowers For Algernon.  

This book was nothing like I expected. At all. But I really loved it. Honestly. 

First of all, why haven't I ever seen this book? I was just scrolling along my Goodreads and bam! Flowers For Algernon...In the classic section! I was very intrigued, to say the least. And now here we are. 

This book had the most interesting synopsis. This book is about a mentally disabled man named Charlie. This book is about Charlie going through an experimental procedure that increases his IQ. This experimental quest for intelligence mirrors Algernon. A mouse. This book is told from Charlie's perspective through diary entries. 

So now we have a classic that I actually like. Scratch that, love. I experienced all the emotions while reading this book. Joy, sadness, happiness, hope, anger, frustration. You name it. This was a story that made me question myself. How I treat people, my intelligence, the intelligence of others, and how I treat them. 

And the ending. 

Oh, the ending.

My heart broke. All Charlie wanted was to be intelligent and treated like a normal person despite his disabilities. He was so eager to learn and love and live. 

Overall, I loved this book, despite how sad it was. I recommend everyone go read this book. You will not regret it. 

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

This book has been very highly anticipated for me. I've been hearing about it everywhere! And I mean, this book has an average rating of 4.44...That's pretty telling.

This is a great book. And a really important book at that. This is a book about how black women have been left out of the mainstream feminist movement. Which is not okay. 

I haven't read any feminist books. Literally, any. Unless you count strong female protagonists or Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X. But are those books really educating me on the feminist movement? No. So here we are. 

Mikki Kendall does a PHENOMENAL job with this book. She is so passionate about this topic and equality, and that radiates from the pages of this book. She's intelligent and a great writer and that only inspired me and made me want to be more educated on this topic. 

In this book, Mikki Kendall points out many ways that feminism is lacking. How it has affected the needs of upper-class, middle-class, straight, white women, and how it has not for everyone else. Lower-class, queer, trans, Hispanics, African Americans, on and on the list goes. 

So yeah. Read this book. It's a really good one. You won't regret it. 

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Okay, this book is so confusing.

For those of you who don't know, I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart back in November and really enjoyed it. Looking back, I like it better than my review lets on. But anyway, I thought that I'd pick up Genuine Fraud...

I was a little disappointed.

This book is about an unlikely friendship. Imogen is a runaway heiress, orphan, cook, and a cheat. Jule is a fighter, social chameleon, and athlete. 

I'm not sure if I can say anything else because this is a spoiler-free zone!! Buuuuttttt I will give you my thoughts on this book. I didn't like it. I thought it was confusing, forgettable, boring. It was just a letdown. The premise/synopsis was good but the execution...Not so much. I was enjoying it at first, but then I got confused and lost. This book had a lot of potential, that in my opinion, fell flat. 

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh 

And finally, we have a book in verse. 

This book the coming of age story of Ada. Ada is the daughter of an immigrant father and an African-American mother. She's struggling to find her place, and basically, this book is about how she finds it. 

I enjoyed this one! I found it similar to The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, which we all know that I loved. Books in verse are some of my favorites to read, and this one did not disappoint. 

Okay. Readers far and wide, this is where you come into play. Here are Abby and I's MARCH BOOK CLUB PICKS. If you're new here, Abby and I like to pick two books a month to read together!! We encourage you to join us and link up with your review on the last Tuesday of the month! But without further ado, we are reading...

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus and Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey!!

Are you excited?

I am! :) 

Well, that wraps up February 2021's book review!! I hope you enjoyed and feel free to leave any book recs in the comments!! I'm always down for a new book!! Have you read any of these books? Which did you love...which did you not? I'm curious!!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you tomorrow!! :)


  1. I felt the same way when I finished Educated! I just could NOT get over what I had read and that it was her actual life story. I felt the same way about The Glass Castle; another memoir that runs along the same lines. It's nuts to think that people live like this right here in our country! I read Flowers for Algernon when I was in high school and absolutely loved it. There were so few classics I enjoyed but that was definitely one of them. I also like A Town Called Alice (didn't LOVE it but really did enjoy the overall story).

    1. It was crazy!! I was not expecting to love it as much as I did!!

  2. Oh, Ella, your book reviews are incredible! I am so lucky to have you as my book buddy! I am so sorry for not being able to do it this month, I promise I will be back next month!!

  3. It's great that you've read a lot of books lately Ella. You did a great job with all of these book reviews.
    Thanks for the blog visit and enjoy the week. :)

  4. With the Fire on High sounds like amazing read- and you seriously crushed your reading list this month!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  5. This list is inspiring, Ella! Great month of reading!! I have found a few I will be adding to my Goodread's list... thanks!

  6. Ella,
    I wish I could find some time to read but I just finished a huge photo organizing project that took me over 2 weeks!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting on my post about my friend Anne Marie's home decorated for Winter/Valentine's...I know she appreciates your visit!!

    1. Thank you!! Wow!! That is quite the undertaking!! I so enjoyed reading about Anne Marie’s home...It was so beautiful!!

  7. I am not sure if you read this book or not but it's called "The Hate U Give". A teacher at my school I work out assigned that book for her students. I seen the movie and it's really powerful. I might try the book myself. If I can find some time to sit down and read! LOL

    1. YES!!!! I’ve been DYING to read it!! My mom hasn’t let me read it yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to sometime this year!! I read On The Come Up by Angie Thomas and I LOVED it!!

  8. Oh my gosh, Ella, I love reading your book reviews! Your passion about reading and books so perfectly mirrors mine that I cannot help but chuckle. Your goal to read all of the classics is a lofty but admirable one! When I was in high school, I started creating a card catalog for myself listing every classic author and every book they had ever written and I was determined to read them all! By the time I had graduated, I think I probably spent more time creating the lists than I did actually reading the books. LOL. But I did eventually read every Pulitzer Prize winning novel in order from the very first one. That was an incredibly interesting reading experience to see how society's views about appropriate (and award winning) topics in fiction have changed over the last century. Keep reading, my friend! It is the most wonderful thing for so many reasons.